Spring Gobbler hunters electronically checked in 9,038 gobblers this year, slightly lower than the number checked last year, according to Keith Krantz, Turkey and Upland Game Biologist for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. The 2015 spring gobbler season was the first season in which West Virginia hunters could use either the telephone, Internet or license agent to check in an animal.
“For the most part, hunters seemed to embrace being able to electronically register their gobblers,” Krantz said. ”Very few issues were reported given the magnitude of this change. However, because we don’t know yet if the check-in rate changed between systems, comparing harvest figures between seasons is problematic.”
Youth hunters checked in 383 gobblers during the youth season held April 25. Mason County had the highest reported harvest of 21, followed by Preston County with 15 and Jackson and Logan counties with 14 each.
Of the six DNR districts in the state, District 1 in the northern part of the state recorded the most birds checked with 1,835, followed by District 4 (1,726), District 6 (1,675), District 5 (1,510), District 3 (1,399) and District 2 (893). While District 1 had the highest harvest, District 4 in the southern part of the state had four counties in the top 10, more than any other district.
Preston County in District 1 led the state with 333 gobblers checked. Mason County followed with 313 birds checked. Rounding out the top five were Jackson County (264), Wyoming County (257) and Harrison and Wood counties each with (247).
“Above-average fall mast crops in 2014 and great weather this spring should ensure good poult survival, which in turn increases the population for future harvests,” Krantz said.
Clay County checked in 83 turkeys, up from 68 last year. In neighboring counties, Roane checked 210 this year and Braxton checked 194.